7 Jun 2023 6:45 AM GMT
A Supreme Court Vacation Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal on Wednesday sought a report from the Supreme Court registry of the last mentioning of Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay's petition challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India's (SBI) notifications that permit exchange of Rs. 2000 currency notes without requirement of any identity...
A Supreme Court Vacation Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Rajesh Bindal on Wednesday sought a report from the Supreme Court registry of the last mentioning of Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay's petition challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bank of India's (SBI) notifications that permit exchange of Rs. 2000 currency notes without requirement of any identity proof.
Advocate Upadhyay mentioned his plea against the Delhi High Court's dismissal of his PIL seeking for exchange of Rs. 2000 currency notes to be permitted only with identity proof before the Supreme Court today, stating that the matter was quite urgent. Justice Aniruddha Bose interjected and asked –
"Was this mentioned earlier?"
To this, Upadhyay responded–
"Yes, but there were many defects at that time, we have cured the defects now..."
On June 1 2023, Upadhyay had mentioned the same matter before the Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice KV Viswanathan. The bench had refused to entertain his urgent mentioning stating that it would not take up such matters during the vacations and allowed Upadhyay to mention the matter once the Apex Court had resumed post the summer vacations.
Upon Upadhyay's submission, Justice Rajesh Bindal remarked–
"The direction was given that it should be mentioned after the court reopens. How can you mention again? A coordinate bench already said to mention after the court reopens...You cannot come to a different bench..."
Upadhyay continued his arguments on urgency of the matter and said–
"The problem is that money is being hoarded by gangsters. Maoists, Terrorists and separatists are exchanging money. There are media reports saying 80,000 crores exchanged...Only observation was how can you mention when it is just filed..."
Justice Bose said–
"We'll seek a report from registry on this. We'll grant you liberty to mention this on Friday."
Upadhyay's plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court's division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. While dismissing the plea, the Delhi High Court had observed that the purpose of issuing the denominations of Rs 2000, which was to meet the currency requirement of the economy in an expeditious manner in November 2016 when all Rs. 500 and Rs.1000 denomination banknotes were declared to be not legal tender, had been achieved. Thus, the Government's decision not to insist upon requirement of identity proof for exchange of Rs. 2000 denominations banknotes could not be considered as perverse, arbitrary or something which encouraged black money, money laundering, profiteering etc.
Post the dismissal, Upadhyay moved the Supreme Court in appeal of the said judgement.
Through his plea, Upadhyay had also prayed that RBI and SBI be directed to ensure that the Rs. 2000 currency notes were deposited in respective bank accounts only, so that the no one could deposit the money in other accounts. As per the plea, this would ensure that people having black money and disproportionate assets could be identified easily. He had also sought a direction for appropriate steps against the black money and disproportionate asset holders in order to “weed out corruption, benami transaction, and secure fundamental rights of citizens.”
“Recently, it was announced by the Centre that every family has AADHAAR Card and Bank Account. Therefore, why RBI is permitting to exchange Rs. 2000 banknotes without obtaining identity proof. It is also necessary to state that 80 Crore BPL families receive free grains. It means 80 crore Indians rarely use Rs. 2,000/- banknotes. Therefore, petitioner also seeks direction to RBI and SBI to take steps to ensure that Rs. 2000 banknotes are deposited in bank account only,” the plea stated.
The RBI had recently announced its decision to withdraw Rs. 2000 notes from circulation. However, it added that the currency will continue as Legal Tender. It permitted people to deposit Rs 2000 banknotes into their bank accounts and/or exchange them into banknotes of other denominations at any bank branch.
“In order to ensure operational convenience and to avoid disruption of regular activities of bank branches, exchange of ₹2000 banknotes into banknotes of other denominations can be made upto a limit of ₹20,000/- at a time at any bank starting from May 23, 2023," a press note issued by RBI had said.
Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay Vs Union Of India [Slp No.12034/2023]
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